Checking in on the… Atlantic 10Posted by nvr1983 on February 11th, 2009
College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.
This Week in the A-10
By CCT Staff | February 9, 2009
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Aaron Jackson (Sr.), Duquesne.
The leader of the Dukes had another huge week, averaging 25 points, 5.5 rebounds, and three assists in two games. In Duquesne’s upset of No. 9 Xavier, Jackson scored a game-high 21 points, including five clutch free throws in the final 31 seconds of the game. Jackson netted 29 points and grabbed six rebounds earlier in the week in a loss at Saint Louis. In the seven day span, Jackson shot 52% (17-of-33) from the field and connected on 15-of-18 from the foul line.
HONORABLE MENTION: Lavoy Allen (So.), Temple; Kevin Lisch (Sr.), Saint Louis; Ahmad Nivins (Sr.), Saint Joseph’s
(Note: College Chalktalk’s week runs from the previous Monday through Sunday and releases “This Week in the A-10″ each Monday morning.)
GAME OF THE WEEK: Sunday, Feb. 8th – Saint Louis 85, Richmond 72 (3OTs)
While not the most glamorous game of the week, the Billikens and Spiders certainly had fans on the edge of their seats. Neither team could pull away during regulation, with the largest lead of the second half just eight points in Richmond’s favor. The Spiders held a six-point lead with 3:07 to play, but the Billikens stifled Richmond the rest of the way, forcing overtime.
Both teams mustered just four points each in the first extra period then managed to pour in nine points a piece in the second overtime. Richmond appeared to be in the driver’s seat as the second overtime wound down, but Kevin Lisch hit a three with just .2 seconds remaining to force the third and decisive frame.
In the third overtime, Kwamain Mitchell and the Billikens took charge, crushing the Spiders by a score of 14-1. Mitchell scored eight of his career-high 23 points in the final five minutes.
UPCOMING GAME OF THE WEEK: Wednesday, Feb. 11th – Xavier @ Dayton. Were XU and UD each guilty of looking ahead to this match-up? Both the Musketeers and Flyers are coming off road losses heading into the A-10’s battle of Ohio, but these are still the two premier teams in the conference. Dayton enters this one perfect at UD Arena, sporting a 14-0 record at home. The Flyers also have been perfect in close games, going 9-0 in contests decided by five points or less. Likewise, Xavier has been dominant, defeating opponents by an average of more than 10 points-per-game. This battle for temporary bragging rights (the teams meet again on March 5th) should come down to the final minutes, but will the statistical trends supporting Dayton come to an end?
Power Rankings (through games of Feb. 8, 2009) ( ) = Last week’s ranking
1. Xavier (1): Trapped? Was “X” looking past Duquesne? We’ll never know, but Xavier has a history of rebounding well after losses.
2. Dayton (2): Flyers were a Sunday win away from cracking the Top 25; now they need to regroup in order to avoid back to back losses for the first time this year.
3. Saint Joseph’s (3): Winners of 9 of their last 10, they play host to Temple Thursday night in a match-up of arguably the league’s two best players (Ahmad Nivins and Dionte Christmas), who will battle for Philly bragging rights.
4. Duquesne (5): Welcome to the club: Win over 9th ranked Xavier vaults Duquesne into the league’s elite; senior Aaron Jackson led the way once again with 21 points in the biggest win on the Bluff in years.
5. Temple (4): Lavoy Allen’s 23 points and 13 boards stole the show in the “Christmas” pageant against Rhode Island. Fellow sophomore big man Craig Williams had a season-high 12 points.
6. Rhode Island (6): Dropped their first in five games Sunday. Bonaventure awaits Wednesday night in a game that always means a lot to Jim Baron Sr. and his son, who maintain strong ties to Olean.
7. Saint Louis (8): Three straight wins and the Billikens are five over .500 for the year. Kevin Lisch has averaged 24 points over the last two contests.
8. UMass (9): Nearly the third upset of the weekend (Duquesne, Charlotte) before falling short to SJU; just seven points and four rebounds from their bench in the losing effort.
9. La Salle (7): Just what doctor “Gianinni” ordered? Losers of three straight, La Salle travels to GW Wednesday in a big game for both clubs.
10. Charlotte (11): Win over Dayton could be a turning point. Charlotte has two league wins and winnable games this week at Saint Louis and versus George Washington.
11. St. Bonaventure (12): Long-range gunner Chris Matthews, has the third most three pointers in the league this year and is carrying the load as the Bonnies lone deep threat, and has had double figures in six straight.
12. Richmond (10): Four straight losses for the Spiders, the last of the triple OT variety; outscored 14-1 in the game’s final frame by the usually offensively challenged Billikens.
13. George Washington (14): Took out the frustration of 11 straight losses on Fordham; Diggs and Hollis combined for 36 points in the 25 point thrashing of young and inexperienced Fordham.
14. Fordham (13): Future is Bright: Freshmen trio of Fontan, Blue, and Estwick have averaged a very impressive 29.7 points per game so far this season.
In-Depth Team Breakdowns
CHARLOTTE (8-14, 2-6)
Last Week’s Results: WIN: Feb. 8th vs. Dayton 79-66 LOSS: Feb. 5th vs. Rhode Island 71-64
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th @ Saint Louis, Feb. 14th vs. George Washington
SUMMARY: Lamont Mack finished with 17 points and DiJuan Harris added a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists, but it still didn’t earn the 49ers a win at home against URI. Charlotte battled back to tie the game in the final minutes after being down seven with eight minutes to play, but 6-of-14 foul shooting didn’t help the cause. The ‘Niners captured their best win to date yesterday with a home victory over Dayton. Harris was again phenomenal, adding another double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. To top things off, he only had one turnover in 39 minutes of play at the point. Mack once again led the ‘Niners in scoring with 20.
DAYTON (21-3, 7-2)
Last Week’s Results: WIN: Feb. 4th @ La Salle 63-61 LOSS: Feb. 8th @ Charlotte 79-66
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th vs. Xavier, Feb. 14th vs. Richmond
SUMMARY: The Flyers matched the best start in team history as Marcus Johnson’s put-back dunk with 1.2 seconds left lifted the visitors to a win at La Salle, improving their record to 21-2 in the process. Dayton also moved to 9-0 in games decided by five points or less. Johnson led the Flyers with 16 points, while Chris Wright scored 14 and led Dayton with eight boards. But the Flyers seven game winning streak ended their next trip out against Charlotte. Freshman Chris Johnson led the Flyers with 13 points, all in the first half. The Flyers shot 50% from the field and 57% from deep for the game, but 17 turnovers and losing the battle on the boards (36-28) spelled doom.
DUQUESNE (15-7, 6-3)
Last Week’s Results: WIN: Feb. 7th vs. Xavier 72-68 LOSS: Feb. 4th @ Saint Louis 78-74 (OT)
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th @ Richmond, Feb 15th vs. Temple
SUMMARY: Aaron Jackson did all he could to help the Dukes earn a ‘W’ against Saint Louis, but even with his 29 point effort, the Dukes fell short. Jackson hit a jumper at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime, but the Dukes never led in the extra period. Damian Saunders added his fifth double-double of the season for the Dukes, scoring 14 and grabbing 10 rebounds. Nevertheless, Duquesne rebounded in a big way in their return to the Palumbo Center, as they upset No.9 Xavier. Jackson once again led the Dukes with 21 points and Bill Clark added 18, hitting all four of his three-point attempts. The Dukes shot an amazing 81% in the first half, then didn’t score a basket in the final 7:44, but still hung on and gave the Duquesne faithful a reason to storm the court.
FORDHAM (3-17, 1-7)
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSS: Feb. 7th @ George Washington 87-62
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th vs. Massachusetts, Feb. 14th @ Xavier
SUMMARY: The Rams battled the Colonials without the services of Chris Bethel, who is now lost for the season due to injury. Despite Jio Fontan’s 22 point effort, Fordham still couldn’t stop GW from earning their first conference win. The game was essentially over by halftime, as Fordham shot a paltry 23.3% before the break and allowed their opponents to shoot the ball at a blistering 63.9%. Trey Blue added 18 for the Rams in the loss.
GEORGE WASHINGTON (7-13, 1-7)
Last Week’s Results: WIN: Feb. 7th vs. Fordham 87-62 LOSS: Feb. 4th @ Saint Joseph’s 66-58
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th vs. La Salle, Feb. 14th @ Charlotte
SUMMARY: The Colonials dropped their 11th straight contest in a road loss against Saint Joe’s. Rob Diggs scored 18 and Damian Hollis added 14, but GW fell shy of capturing its first A-10 win of the season. The Colonials wouldn’t wait long for that win, however, which came in their next game out against Fordham. Hollis paced the Colonials with 19 points and GW shot a robust 63.9% in the first half as they built a 33 point halftime lead and cruised to their conference first win. Rob Diggs added 17 points in 19 minutes of action for the Colonials.
LASALLE (12-10, 3-5)
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 4th vs. Dayton 63-61, Feb. 7th @ St. Bonaventure 72-67
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th @ George Washington, Feb. 14th vs. Saint Joseph’s
SUMMARY: The Explorers suffered a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Flyers, as they rallied from a 17-point deficit to tie the game with 44 seconds left, only to lose on a last second dunk by Dayton. Rodney Green exploded for the Explorers, scoring 25 points. Ruben Guillandeaux was the only other La Salle player to score in double figures, however, with 12 points. La Salle followed that loss up with another at St. Bonaventure on Saturday. Darryl Partin scored a career-high 11 and Kimmani Barrett and Rodney Green each added 13 points for the Explorers. La Salle struggled shooting overall, however, making good on just 36% for the game as compared to the Bonnies 52%.
MASSACHUSETTS (8-13, 3-5)
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 4th vs. Richmond 80-71 LOSSES: Feb. 8th vs. Saint Joseph’s 68-64
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th @ Fordham, Feb. 14th @ St. Bonaventure
SUMMARY: The Minutemen picked up a big win against Richmond, as Chris Lowe scored his 1000th career point on his way to a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. Ricky Harris and Tony Gaffney started out slowly, combining for just three points in the first half, but caught fire in the second half combining for 33 points to aid in the win. Against Saint Joe’s, Harris and Anthony Gurley both had 18 points, but the Minutemen relinquished a second half lead (sound familiar?) in the loss. Gaffney was hurt by foul trouble in this one, but still managed to record eight points and 11 boards.
RHODE ISLAND (16-8, 5-4)
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 5th @ Charlotte 71-64 LOSSES: Feb. 8th vs. Temple 68-62
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th vs. St. Bonaventure, Feb. 14th vs. Saint Louis
SUMMARY: It was a tale of two halves for URI and more specifically, Jimmy Baron, against Charlotte. Baron went scoreless in the first half and URI trailed at the break. In the second half, Baron scored 19 points, including the game clinching hoop with 25 seconds remaining as Rhody earned a solid road win. Kahiem Seawright almost added another double-double to his resume, recording 14 points and nine boards. In their rematch with Temple, Rhody welcomed guard Keith Cothran back from injury and, while he scored a team-high 16 points, the Owls evened the season score. Baron added 13 points for URI, while Seawright chipped in with 12 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
RICHMOND (11-12, 3-5)
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 4th @ Massachusetts 80-71, Feb. 8th vs. Saint Louis 85-72 (3OT)
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th vs. Duquesne, Feb. 14th @ Dayton
SUMMARY: David Gonzalvez scored his 1000th point as a Spider while pouring in 18 at UMass, but Richmond bowed out to the Minutemen on the road. Kevin Anderson added 18 as well for the Spiders. The Spiders took another hit later in the week as they lost a triple overtime marathon versus Saint Louis. Gonzalvez led the Spiders again with 19 points, while Kevin Smith added a career-high 17. Two other Spiders also scored in double-figures as Richmond lost a six point lead with 3:07 to play in regulation before falling to the Billikens in the third extra period.
SAINT JOSEPH’S (14-8, 7-1)
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 4th vs. George Washington 66-58, Feb. 8th @ Massachusetts 68-64 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 12th vs. Temple, Feb. 14th @ La Salle
SUMMARY: Four players scored in double figures, led once again by Ahmad Nivins’s 16 points and 11 rebounds, and the Hawks moved to 6-1 in the A-10 with a win over GW. Darrin Govens and Tasheed Carr both added 14 points for the Hawks, while Idris Hilliard did his part adding 12 points for the winners. For Nivins, the double-double was his 14th of the season. He added a 15th later in the week against UMass, posting 21 points and 12 boards in the win. Carr once again chipped in 14 points, while Govens tallied 11. The Hawks trailed for most of the second half before taking the decisive lead with 4:48 to play.
SAINT LOUIS (14-9, 5-4)
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 4th vs. Duquesne 78-74 (OT) Feb. 8th @ Richmond 85-72 (3OT) LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th vs. Charlotte, Feb. 14th @ Rhode Island
SUMMARY: Who are these guys and what have they done with the Billikens? Saint Louis once against scored nearly 80 points, as five players reached double-figures in the overtime win versus Duquesne. Kevin Lisch led the way with 21 points, and Tommie Liddell added 13 points and seven boards for the Billikens, who leveled their record to 4-4 in the A-10. The offensive explosion continued, as did the free basketball, as the Billikens used three overtimes to knock off the Spiders. Kwamain Mitchell scored a career-high 23 points, with eight of them coming in the third and final overtime period. Lisch led the SLU attack with 27 points, including a clutch three-pointer as time was expiring in the second overtime to extend the contest.
ST. BONAVENTURE (12-10, 3-6)
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 7th vs. La Salle 72-67 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th @ Rhode Island, Feb. 14th vs. Massachusetts
SUMMARY: Malcolm Eleby led four Bonnies in double figures by contributing season highs in scoring (14 points) and rebounds (nine) as St. Bonaventure earned its third conference win of the year. Jonathan Hall had a solid all-around game for the Bonnies, contributing 12 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Chris Matthews added a game-high 15 points. St. Bonaventure’s defense came up big on the night, as it held the Explorers to just 37% from the field and a meager 28% from long range.
TEMPLE (13-9, 5-3)
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 8th vs. Rhode Island 68-62 LOSSES: Feb. 5th @ Xavier 83-74
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 12th @ Saint Joseph’s, Feb. 15th @ Duquesne
SUMMARY: The Temple big men had a strong outing against the Musketeers, but that was about the only positive. Sergio Olmos scored 18 points and added three blocks while Lavoy Allen contributed his seventh double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Dionte Christmas was shut down in this one, however, scoring just 12 points on 6-of-16 shooting and 0-for-3 from three. Allen came up huge against URI, as he posted a career-high 23 points and grabbed 13 boards in the win. Christmas was a little more effective in this one, scoring 19 points for the victors.
XAVIER (20-3, 8-1)
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 5th vs. Temple 83-74 LOSSES: Feb. 7th @ Duquesne 72-68
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 11th @ Dayton, Feb. 14th vs. Fordham
SUMMARY: B.J. Raymond was the star of the night against the Owls, tallying a game-high 24 points and holding one of the A-10’s best, Dionte Christmas, to just 12 points. Three other Musketeers also reached double figures in scoring, as XU reached the 20-win mark on the season. Xavier shot an impressive 61% from distance for the game. The Musketeers had just two days before they took the court against Duquesne and it showed as Xavier was handed their first loss in 11 games. Raymond again led the Muskies in scoring with 18 points, but the most staggering stat was Xavier permitting Duquesne to shoot an amazing 81% in the first half. Terrell Holloway added 16 for the Musketeers.